I’ve read almost all of Samantha Young’s books. I’ve noticed that in all of her series, Sam (can I call you Sam?) has this insanely frustrating habit of giving me just enough to whet my appetite, to keep me going. Then I get to the end of the book and I want to throw my Kindle across the room because it’s never enough. I always want to know what happens next RIGHT NOW, not when the next book comes out. This is the main reason why she’s on my auto-buy list and I’ll pretty much read anything she writes.
In Scorched Skies (review), we leave off with Ari and Jai rushing to Mount Qaf to save Charlie. A common theme in this series. Charlie is on trial for killing a half-blood royal, and while he had good reasons for doing so, the Jinn are a stubborn people. Charlie barely scrapes out of the trial with his life intact, and he, Ari and Jai leave the treacherous environment of Mount Qaf at the first opportunity. After the events at the end of Scorched Skies, Ari decides she is tired of being a victim. She wants to become the hunter, instead of the hunted. They all head back to the Roe’s, the Guild that harbored them in the previous book. Ari immediately begins training with Jai and Fallon, while Charlie hides himself away to do mysterious revenge things with another Guild hunter, Jack.
At the Guild home, Ari and Jai experience a few weeks of peace for the first time in months. But the vultures are ever circling, just waiting for the perfect opportunity for Ari to slip up so they can forcibly bring her back to Mount Qaf for good. As the days wear on, Ari struggles to contain the Seal’s power within her, and it’s starting to change her. It’s getting harder to control, especially when it comes to any threats regarding Jai. They’ve been forced to keep their relationship a secret, but the White King’s spies have discovered the truth and Ari’s evil father devises a plan to kidnap Jai, hoping to force Ari to his side and under his thumb.
Ari runs to Azazil, where she learns the truth about the Seal and why it’s trying to take control of her body. Ari finally realizes that the balance must be maintained, and that she is not strong enough to hold the Seal. She must decide between her own life, or those of the people she loves.
Where Scorched Skies was heavy on the action, Borrowed Ember was a bit slower paced. We learn a lot more in this book about the Jinn world, Ari and the Seal, Azazil’s motives, the White King’s motives, who Ms. Maggie really is, what Asmodeus wants, and whether or not the Red King would choose between Ari or his loyalty to his father. A lot of secrets are revealed, some that are devastating, and some that bring relief and comfort.
I found myself wishing for some more gumption from Ari. She was firm in her desire to train and learn how to use her powers, but when she was put in a situation where she could actually fight, she sort of froze up and someone always showed up in the nick of time to save her. I hope that we see more growth with her character in the next book. I don’t need her to be Wonder Woman, but I’d like her to be able to stand up for herself, and even more, believe in herself. I really admire Ari’s loyalty to her friends and family. She always puts them first, but sometimes that makes her a little TSTL, and she is so much better than that. I hope that in the future we see her embrace the world she was violently thrust into, but can no longer avoid. She wants so badly to be normal, but I’d like to see her make a new normal with the life she now has. I want her to fight alongside Jai, not be okay with him pushing her behind him when they’re backed into a corner.
Jai is devastatingly handsome and sexy, as always. If there’s one thing Sam does well, it’s her heroes. He’s a perfect blend of vulnerability and strength, and he loves Ari so much. It was so hard to read about their difficulties in keeping their relationship a secret, when he just wanted to shout to the world that Ari was his and no one was to mess with her.
I hate Charlie. I’ve never liked him, but I tried to at least tolerate him for Ari’s sake. What he did in this book pushed me right over the edge from tolerating deep into loathing territory. I kept yelling at Ari to just give him up. He’s clearly made his choice to pursue this ridiculous revenge of his without regard to anyone else, and it annoyed me that she kept wanting to save him. And the end.. HOLY COW the end. Sam, you killed me. Seriously. What went down in the hotel AND Ms. Maggie? Was that absolutely necessary? SOB.
My Summary: I’ve always been intrigued with this series, but now I desperately want to know where it’s going from here. My mind is filled with questions about what’s going to happen next, and I can’t get the story out of my head. Ari and Jai are one of my most favorite YA couples, and I hope they have some time in the next book to just be. I love the action, but I also love the moments where they can be together and enjoy each other’s company. I’m hoping they can go on a regular date or something. (Wink, wink ) I highly recommend this series, and if you haven’t read it, start with Fire Spirits. I promise you’ll love ‘em just as much as I do.
My Rating: A